I had a DIEP reconstruction in February 2012. I was in hopsital for 5 days. I would say the first 2 weeks is the worst and I was pretty much living on ibuprofen, codeine and paracetamol to keep the pain at bay. I found the stomach area to cause me the most discomfort and I found it difficult to move around at first. But, I was driving and back to work after 6 weeks.
It's not the easiest operation, but 1 year on, I'm pretty much back to full physical health (mainly due to my laziness). I even went skiing in February of this year, which is why I chose the DIEP over the LD Flap, because I was advised that you can lose some strength in your arm.
Regarding the comment by your surgeon, I was actually given different information to that. With the LD flap, I was told that I would need more surgery and probably need implants. And due to that, they would need to be replaced periodically. I have only needed the one operation - the size of my reconstructed breast is pretty similar to my normal breast (albeit a little more pert, after 3 children!!). But, I am very happy with what has been achieved - plus I got myself a little tummy-tuck in the process 🙂
I hope helps you some xxx